Thursday, December 19, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #15
So how does a drunk go about reviewing a comic where the previous issue contained some very powerful emotional moments along with gratuitous death? The answer is usually the same answer for the day after I find out my rent check bounced. I get even more drunk. Rick Remender kicked up an epic shit storm with Uncanny Avengers #14 when he apparently offed Rogue, Wonder Man, and the Scarlett Witch. It's not yet clear whether he offed them in a permanent sort of way. Given that the permanence of death in the Marvel comics is akin to the permanence of a promise by Dick Cheney, that's hard to determine. So I'm going to approach Uncanny Avengers #15 in the same way I approach the day after the first day of school. The last one sucked, but it was as bad as it can get without running short on whiskey.
After reading the last issue, it’s easy to forget that there was much more going on than the murder porn that seemed to converge around Wanda. There were actually other parts of this conflict, namely with Havok, Wasp, and Captain America. While the others were busy getting themselves killed, they were trying to destroy the time dampener that’s keeping Kang and his time-displaced army from traveling back and giving the Apocalypse Twins a good spanking. The problem is the Scarlet Witch successfully cast her spell before she was gutted in a completely non-sexual way. So Havok, being a mutant and all, disappeared and left Captain America to fend for himself. So now he has to take on the Apocalypse Twins unilaterally. I’m sure Donald Rumsfeld would be proud.
And Havok is not the only one. He gets plenty of company because that spell was intended to affect the entire mutant race. That means every fucking mutant on the planet gets transported on a free trip to a stasis chamber in the Apocalypse Twins’s ark. Still beats a free trip to Detroit in my opinion, but it basically purges the entire planet of all mutants. I imagine the Purifiers, the Neo-Nazis, and Rick Santorum supporters all rejoiced. But in the context of the story, it’s a big moment because this is what the Apocalypse Twins wanted all along. They’re not like the previous Apocalypse, who just wanted to filter everyone and everything through Charles Darwin’s asshole. They want to save the entire mutant race from a future they know sucks elephant balls. It’s part of what makes them a much less annoying villain than the Red Skull. For a generation that has been shooting Nazis in every Call of Duty game, I think it’s a welcome change.
It’s not quite as welcome for Wasp. She’s not only trying to destroy the temporal dam. She’s trying to hook up with Havok. That’s a lot of motivation for a woman, but it isn’t enough. Once the Apocalypse Twins have every mutant in their midst, they have no more reason to stay on this horrible planet that gave them Andy Dick, reality TV, and tweets from Amanda Bynes. So they just up and take off before Wasp can reach them. It sucks for her because she also happens to be a major target for Sentry, who is now the Horsemen of Death. That’s like giving the Hulk a metric ton of crystal meth. She’s overmatched to say the least. But again, she’s motivated. There’s some nice inner monologue, which has been a common theme for various issues of Uncanny Avengers. And like those other issues, it’s nicely done here. She even reflects on just how much she wants to jump Havok’s bone. I guess women just can’t resist the power of a Summers brother penis.
But to get to Havok’s penis, she still has to go through Sentry. There aren’t a whole lot of forces in the universe that can stop a beautiful, determined woman. But I think a Horsemen of Death version of Sentry is fairly qualified. He roughs her up in a way that isn’t quite on the same level as Chris Brown. He also goes on his own little “I am death so fear me while I compensate for my small penis” rant. Maybe this would have worked better as internal monologue or maybe the Sentry is just mentally fucked up no matter what form he’s in. Wasp still tries to fight back, going so far as to blow his fucking face off. This makes for a nice little visual where Sentry manages to regrow his flesh like a Wolverine zombie. It’s not quite as terrifying as it sounds, but it gets the point across.
As tough as Wasp is, she’s very overmatched. And some might actually have a problem with this. Putting Wasp up against Sentry is like putting a puppy up against grizzly bear. She really has no hope of winning and being pretty much the only female member of the team left alive, there’s something wrong with that. It may give Rush Limbaugh a boner, seeing a much stronger male character dominate a female character. Or maybe I’ve just spent too much time in Dutch S&M clubs. I’m more inclined to believe there’s no such thing as too much time in a Dutch S&M club so I’ll just say that this scene basically made Wasp out to be an appetizer for Sentry.
In another moment that Rush Limbaugh would probably enjoy, the overmatched Wasp is saved by the ultimate alpha male in Thor. Despite getting roughed up by Sentry a few issues ago, he’s back and ready to get him back for wounding his godly ego. That means hitting him with a big ass hammer and some big ass lightning. It makes for more awesome visual that I didn’t even need LSD to make awesome. That alone should show how great the art is in this book. Yet despite taking a magic hammer to the head, Sentry still won’t go down. He still re-assembles his flesh with the same ease as most of us would clip off a hangnail. I imagine it would still be uncomfortable, but it still probably beats getting thrown into the sun.
Thor keeps trying to knock the flesh off Sentry’s corpse of a body. He might as well be trying to make Wolverine give up whiskey. The Sentry was already grossly overpowered before. That’s why I never liked reading battles involving him when he was still alive. He’s like that guy in a porno with a really big dick who just stands around, strutting it as if to mock everyone who never needed to buy extra large condoms. He’s a douche, but he gets the job done. And now that he’s evil, I don’t really care much about how inadequate my penis is compared to him. I just want Thor to shut him up.
However, it isn’t Thor that ends up beating him. I think Rush Limbaugh’s boner would be officially killed because Wasp is the one who ends up subduing him, although she definitely doesn’t kill him. She uses her ability to coax animals and insects into helping her, courtesy of her ex-husband of all people, and summons a big ass worm that looks like a more horrifying version of the Sarlac in Star Wars. It effectively devours Sentry and burrows underground. Given that Sentry is basically a walking corpse, I don’t know who this punishes more, the worm or Sentry. I’m leaning more towards the worm.
While Thor and Wasp catch up, Captain America continues his unilateral approach to stopping the Apocalypse Twins. Their ship is now off the planet and they’re probably feeling pretty damn confident. Who wouldn’t be after transporting and containing every mutant on the planet? Hell, I would be partying with booze and strippers in a pool full of blow if I had a much success as they’ve had in the past few issues. But like a grandfather who just hid his porno stash somewhere else, Captain America tries to be a huge buzzkill. However, the fight here is even more lopsided than the fight between Wasp and Sentry. The Apocalypse Twins take on Captain America with so much ease that they even start reciting bible versions. And this isn’t even a Charlie Brown Christmas special.
Now I’m not against lopsided fights. A part of me still would still get a kick out of seeing a team of body builders beat up Glenn Beck. But pretty much every battle in this issue has been ridiculously lopsided. Thor and Sentry were really the only fair fight and even that didn’t feel very balanced at time. I’m all for epic battles, but when they’re lopsided they don’t feel that epic. They certainly still contribute nicely to the story, but it would have been nice if it seemed like Cap or Wasp stood half a snowball’s chance in Hell.
As Captain America is getting his ass kicked, Thor and Wasp try to catch up. Along the way, they get a visitor in the form of a fucking Celestial. It’s not quite as fucked up as it sounds. When this story began, the Apocalypse Twins killed a Celestial. Apparently, the other Celestials had a big fucking problem with that. So they sent Exitar the Executioner, which I guess is the Celestial version of Mike from Breaking Bad. He goes in to clean up messes and kill any motherfuckers that were stupid enough to survive. Thor knows that in terms of shit hitting the fan, this is basically thermonuclear diarrhea. It’s basically an unfair fight by default. It’s a wounded butterfly trying to beat Galactus. There’s no chance whatsoever that anybody can beat this thing.
After the battle against Sentry, they wisely don’t pick another fight. But they are understandably confused so they go and try to get some answers from Uatu the Watcher, which is kind of short-sighted. If they could just drop by and visit the Watcher at any time, couldn’t they have just gone to him the second the Apocalypse Twins showed up and asked what the fuck was going on? Wouldn’t that have given them the foresight to fix this shit? I guess that would make every conflict in the Marvel universe too easy to solve and we just can’t have that. But the explanation he gives is just as valid. As far as the Celestials are concerned, Earth committed a pretty serious crime when they killed one of their own. And Thor knows he done fucked up because the enchanted axe he stole, Jarnbjorn, was used to do it. So there’s really no taking Exitar to court or hiring Sol Goodman. Earth has been judged and it’s basically fucked.
This is some pretty dire shit, but it also highlights another awesome element of Uncanny Avengers. Like Uncanny X-Force before it, Rick Remender does an awesome job of forging connections within the narrative. He has made it so the events from issues in the past, such as the one depicting the epic ancient bar fight between Thor and Apocalypse, with the events of this story. It ensures that no character is the main focus. Sure, the Scarlett Witch cast the spell and Wolverine goaded Rogue into killing her, but they’re not the only major characters in this plot. These details all fit together in a nice, cohesive manner that if it were a boob job, it would be Pamela Anderson. That’s what has set this series apart and what has helped make it one of the most awesome rides anyone could take without the aid of crystal meth and magic mushrooms.
I feel as though this issue is like that act in a talent show that has to follow up an act that passed out on stage, threw up, and cried. Uncanny Avengers #15 had a lot of shit to make up for after the death and destruction of the previous issue. And I may not be completely sober when I say this, but it fucking worked. This issue was exactly what the story needed. It took a break from all the death and destruction and focused on moving the plot and the characters forward. The Apocalypse Twins are not like the Red Skull in that their plan isn't just a more competent version of whatever Dr. Evil would conjure in an Austin Powers movie. They have an actual vision and that vision is pretty damn awesome. The whole No More Mutants crap was nauseating. But no more humans? Fuck, sign me up. And coming from a human, that's a testament to just how awesome this story panned out. Now once again, Rick Remender has stepped up the scale. He's moved up from weed to crystal meth. My brain and teeth say no, but my heart says fuck yes. Uncanny Avengers #15 gets a 9 out of 10. The cohesive story and detailed connections are what make this series epic. If only hookers were this thorough, then mankind would go extinct. I'm sure that was one of the Apocalypse Twins backup plans, but this works just as well. Nuff said!